Holy Cross Society ready for festival, crowning of queen

Holy Cross Society ready for festival, crowning of queen

By lehighvalleylive.com staff

on September 07, 2016 at 8:02 AM, updated September 07, 2016 at 4:17 PM

The 105th annual Holy Cross Celebration starts Friday night on the festival grounds at the Interstate 78 interchange in Williams Township.

The Holy Cross Society was founded in 1911 by an Easton-area group of men and women who migrated from Santo Stefano di Camastra, in the province of Messina, on the island of Sicily.

Many local business and civic leaders, together with their families, have their origins in Santo Stefano di Camastra and are involved with the Holy Cross Society. They include Easton Mayor Sal Panto Jr. and Northampton County Judge Sam Murray.

Festivities, which include entertainment and food, start at 6 p.m. Friday, with music from 7 to 10 p.m. by Inch and the Echos.

The grounds open at 5 p.m. Saturday, with entertainment by Gary D and Company from 7 to 11 p.m. Fireworks are set for 9:30 p.m.

The grounds open at 3 p.m. Sunday with a Rosary recitation and procession from 4 to 5 p.m. Tower Suite will perform from 5:30 to 9 p.m.

A key part of the celebration is the crowing of the queen, which is set for 9 p.m. Saturday.

Gabriella Duffy, daughter of Paul and Sera (Sottosanti) Duffy, of Nazareth, will be crowned the 105th Queen of the Holy Cross.

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Gabriella Duffy will be crowned queen of the Holy Cross Celebration on Saturday. (Courtesy Photo)

A junior at Bethlehem Catholic High School, she plans to major in  international business in college. She is a member of Bethlehem Catholic’s tennis team and the Key Club, Fact Club and debate team. She also serves as a peer listener. Gabriella has two brothers, Michael and Joseph.

Gabriella’s family heritage and connection to Santo Stefano has been very important to her. Her grandfather, Salvatore Sottosanti, immigrated from Santo Stefano in 1912, settling in Easton. Her grandmother, Maria Maiorana Sottasanti, also lived in Santo Stefano. They would meet here in the 1960s and eventually Maria came to Easton, where the couple married and lived. They had two daughters, Gabriella’s mother Serafina, and her aunt, Maria.

Gabriella’s first trip to Sicily was when she was only a baby. The family has traveled multiple times since then to visit Santo Stefano and family there. She has even been fortunate enough to celebrate Letto Santo in Santo Stefano. Her youngest brother, Joseph, was baptized in Sicily, and this year she will be there once again for his godmother’s wedding.

She has served on the Holy Cross Court for over seven years and is honored to lead it as queen this year.